Great Basin Naturalist


Soil samples, one from each of 10 locations in northern Nevada, were evaluated for redox potential, total and extractable selenium, phosphate, free iron oxide, total and ferrous iron. Mole fractions for extractable selenium species were calculated from redox potentials. Data were used to extrapolate general geochemical relationships for soil selenium at the sample sites. Results obtained from one sample per location allowed only the most general conclusions to be drawn. Soil phosphate levels, which affect the adsorption of selenite species on iron oxide by competing for adsorption sites, were not correlated with levels of extractable selenium in this study. This would suggest that selenium would exist in solution, having been displaced from adsorption sites by phosphorous. Ferrous iron, iron oxides, and redox potential had a combined effect on the level of extractable selenium at all sites. Soils in this study support selenite species that are not readily available to plants and therefore could not support vegetation adequate in Se.